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Burris Stands Firm Despite Urging of Illinois Governor

Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn says Sen. Roland Burris should resign because the controversy surrounding his appointment has cast a shadow over his service in the Senate. Video by AP

The proposal would provide for a temporary appointee for about 120 days, the time it would take to hold an election. Quinn said he would seek an appointee who agreed not to run in the election.

Democrats in Springfield opposed changing the law in December, in part because they feared it would provide an opening for a Republican to win the seat. Blagojevich seized the chance to appoint Burris.

Quinn predicted Burris "will do the right thing and resign."

"I think when people of good will who are friends of Roland Burris, who have no ax to grind, tell him the best thing for the state of Illinois, which he loves, is for him to step aside, I think that message will get through."

One of Burris's biggest doubters in recent days has been Senate Majority Whip Richard J. Durbin (D-Ill.), who has given two interviews to say that Burris failed to tell Illinois legislators the whole truth when he testified under oath on Jan. 8.

Durbin said Burris's future in the Senate is in question but stopped short of calling on him to quit.

Guessing whether Burris will stay has become a parlor game. State Rep. Julie Hamos (D) said Friday that he is likely to fight to keep his job.

"I think Roland Burris is a proud man," Hamos said. "My sense of him as a person is that, even though there is obviously a chorus of voices calling for his resignation, he won't resign."

University of Illinois political science professor Kent Redfield agreed.

"If it was anyone else, I would think he'd resign," Redfield said, "but I'm not sure he'd listen to people. He's very stubborn, has a huge ego, great pride. For him to resign, in terms of his personal image of himself, would be devastating."

But one Burris friend, Chicago radio host Cliff Kelley of WVON, thinks Burris will look for a graceful exit if the heat becomes too high.

"If he feels that all of this negative press has made it impossible for him to serve the people of Illinois, then he would say, 'There's no need for me to stay,' " Kelley said.

"The thing that will hurt him more than anything is to in any way diminish the good name that he has," Kelley went on. "If this continues, he may think it's not worth it. He is a senator, and he will have been a U.S. senator."

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